During the week a storm in a teacup erupted when a Baptist church in Sydney displayed this sign. Of course, it refers to Osama Bin Laden, head of Al-Qaeda. He is believed to have been one of the key instigators of one of the defining events of the 21st century, the September 11 terrorist attacks upon the United States. In a matter of hours, thousands of people were killed, and the lives of thousands more were changed forever. It has been remarked by some commentators that this sign is potentially misleading and offensive, but there is some degree of truthfulness to it.
September 11, 2001 shattered my naivety about human nature. At the time I remembered thinking that most people are inherently good, at least by man's definition. In the days and weeks after those events, as the story of the attacks and how they were planned and carried out emerged, I wondered if it was possible for some people to be irredeemably evil. In spite of the evil and suffering he has caused, as hard as it is for us to comprehend, Jesus does love Bin Laden and his ilk. It's a challenge and reminder to look at such people through God's eyes rather than our own.
Hypothetically, if Bin Laden woke up tomorrow, renounced his particular brand of Islam and its teachings, and accepted Christ, then there would be a place for him in the kingdom of God, regardless of his past. As much as it churns my stomach to even contemplate it at this point, he would become my brother in Christ. It's not my place to decide who is and isn't worthy of God's mercy. The fact of the matter is that none of us actually deserve it. All of us are sinners, but God, in His mercy, provided Jesus to give us salvation, and not the wrath we all deserve.